The extraordinary work our members do never ceases to inspire the CharityComms team.
The sector’s campaigns this year were incredible, as they always are. These are the team’s top picks…
Real Voices blog series – Freedom from Torture
Freedom From Torture campaigns for better treatment of torture survivors and uses their expertise to raise awareness globally and to hold torturers to account.
It’s extraordinary and often painful stories also offer hope.
Rebecca Smith, a horticultural therapist working at the charity’s South London therapy garden, captured the transformational power of gardening to help build new lives as part of the charity’s Real Voices blog series. She shared how, for Tania, a victim of torture in Tanzania, as soon as she started digging, potting and harvesting vegetables, her lifelong love of the earth and nature returned.
Tania said: “This group is just like a family. You find a bond grows on, like you plant a tree, you see yourself sprouting, flourishing, bonding.”
It’s a story that powerfully connected with my love and appreciation of the peace gardening and nature brings. Stories like this, have inspired over 100,000 people to join the movement to support victims of torture in the UK.
Adeela Warley, CEO
Raising awareness of impact of calories on menus – Beat eating disorders
Supporting those with eating disorders, Beat have been campaigning against the displaying of calories on menus. Since the government brought in a law this April that requires large food and drink businesses in England to include calorie information on menus there’s been little evidence to show that it helps encourage healthy eating. Beat have actually found that calorie labelling is harmful to both those with eating disorders and for those recovering from disordered eating, exacerbating worries and obsessive behaviours, while taking the joy out of eating.
To discourage the Welsh and Scottish governments from also adding calories to menus, Beat have working on an important campaign asking the public to sign open letters sharing their views and experiences of calorie labelling. Letters which have now been sent. I admire the work they’ve done standing up for what they believe in and their clear messaging on social media has been fantastic.
Adel Hanily, digital content officer
#OdeToDads ‘He’s the one’ video – Prostate Cancer UK
Released on Father’s Day this poignant video pieces together various home videos of dads being dads. It reminds us of all the little, and sometimes silly things, our fathers do before then asking the audience to imagine a day without them. Part of an awareness campaign highlighting that on average “30 men will die from prostate cancer this Father’s Day. And every day after”, it encourages viewers to donate to help fund research into a screening programme that could save thousands of men. Highlighting the everyday moments that Prostate Cancer can rob families of this campaign really hits home and inspires the viewer to want to help be part of the solution of helping fund research into improving early diagnosis.
Christine Fleming, head of digital content
Brave Face video – Shelter
This year, Shelter’s Christmas campaign sets out to show the bleak truth about the UK’s 119,500 children who’ll wake up on Christmas Day in cramped, depressing, temporary accommodation.
Brave Face, the film spearheading the campaign, starts by following a little boy experiencing a series of bad (but innocuous) events. No pudding left at the school canteen, missing a goal in a game of football. Each time he forces a smile to the dulcet tones of Dean Martin’s “When You’re Smiling”.
At the end, the film takes a heart-breaking twist as the little boy and his mum arrive at a temporary shelter in which they’ll be spending Christmas. The appeal closes with the line: “No child should have to put on a brave face but without a home, over 119,500 children do.”
Using brilliant storytelling and superb casting, it’s good to see Shelter using it’s brave, bold campaigning voice to tell the story of what it’s like to be homeless at Christmas through the eyes of a child.
Emma Novis, senior events producer
March of the Mummies – Pregnant then Screwed
Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity dedicated to ending the motherhood penalty. The charity’s work highlights the discrimination pregnant women and new mothers face in the working world, which has a significant impact on women’s confidence, mental health and earning potential.
In October 2022 Pregnant then Screwed organised a Halloween-themed national protest “March Of The Mummies” to demand Government prioritises: childcare, parental leave and flexible working. Over 15,000 families protested across 11 cities with phenomenal media coverage. Pregnant then Screwed is shining a light on this important subject with such impact. It was so inspiring to see people coming out in full force to support this campaign.
“Mothers are forced out of the labour market by an economy that does not recognise the value of the unpaid care they provide. There are specific mechanisms that underpin our economy – childcare, parental leave policies and working patterns – that reinforce gendered stereotypes about who performs care and lead to a gender pay gap and low participation by mothers in the labour market.”
Lally Wentworth, mentoring manager
Homelessness can’t be ignored any longer campaign – Crisis
With so many devastated by the cost-of-living crisis, homelessness is an issue that is surging and needs to be addressed. Crisis’ ‘Homelessness can’t be ignored any longer’ campaign is striking and is one that really caught my attention.
The campaign centres around a giant, life-like human sculpture called Alex who represents multiple, real people who have lived experience of homelessness. The 4.3-metre-tall sculpture was created by artist Sophie de Oliveria Barata and is a clear visual reminder for us all that we shouldn’t become desensitized to an issue that affects hundreds of thousands every day.
Lauren Obeng-Owusu, Events and membership assistant
Suicide prevention campaign – Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
In June, CALM placed 50 6.5-foot high unbranded ‘smiling portraits’ in London’s South Bank area. The photographs which seemed to be of people living ‘happy, care-free lives’, were soon revealed to be the last photos of people who took their own lives. This was supported with a TV ad showing a series of real home videos shot on their phones of ‘apparently happy’ people in their everyday lives. At the end, it was revealed that all the videos were the last digital memories of people who later died by suicide. This personal, unedited and relatable footage highlights that suicide doesn’t have a look and breaks down a misconception that suicide looks like ‘reclusiveness and crying’ beforehand. The realness of the videos helps us to understand that it happens to people that we can identify with, rather than a stereotype. A truly compelling campaign by CALM.
Mandy Cheng, events manager
Adopt an animal – WWF
This campaign has a clear simple message and an immediate call to action. The notion of “thinking outside the box” is emphasised with a video of a wriggling gift-wrapped Christmas parcel popping open to show some penguin chicks waddling around in the snow – always a winner! The voice-over asks us to think about giving a WWF adoption as a Christmas present and the video wraps up (see what I did there?) with a graphic of the WWF mission of “bringing our world back to life.” A really effective campaign that offers a great Christmas gift option for people of all ages and reinforces the objectives of the charity.
Sarah Clarke, Head of membership
‘He’s Coming Home’ World Cup campaign – Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.
They asked the public to raise awareness of domestic abuse services during the World Cup to help survivors. According to research carried out by the University of Lancaster, incidents of domestic violence can increase by up to 38% during major international football tournaments. While football matches do not cause domestic abuse, factors such as increased alcohol consumption and the high levels of emotion associated with big matches can cause existing domestic abuse to increase in frequency and severity.
Timing was everything for the brilliant ‘He’s Coming Home’ campaign – it launched on 25 November, just after England’s game in the World Cup against the USA, and on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. After England’s 0-0 draw against the USA, Women’s Aid tweeted: “As many of us will be disappointed about the England game tonight, the impact this will have on survivors is much more severe.” This powerful campaign messaging, coupled with haunting video, photography, and a specially designed England flag, is a clear call to action for us to step up together and do what we can to end abuse.
Vanessa Weddell, head of events
If you enjoyed this you can find more inspiration in these blogs:
- Campaigns that inspired 2022’s Inspiring Communicators
- Charities providing organisation-wide strategy inspiration
- Digital charity campaigns our network loves
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